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I wouldn't usually be bringing you a review on a Sunday, but this week was Christmas Gift Guide week and I still wanted to sneak this brand overview in! Skingredients is a brand I heard about earlier this year through one of our Skin Gods of Mount Olympus: Caroline Hirons. Although I have been gifted products from them now, I ordered a few bits from them out of curiosity over summer, so I've been using their products for a while now and, given it's very much a capsule line, that means I have a review of the entire range for you...

Skingredients is a mid-range Irish brand founded by Jennifer Rock (AKA the Skin Nerd), a Dublin-based dermal facialist. You have 'the Core Four' essential skincare and then the 'Mix and Match' products you dip in and out of, depending on what your skin needs in the moment. I think this is a really cool concept and an alternative to the idea that 'skin type' is the be-all and end-all. Their website is very educational but also easy-to-digest and their formulations are free from fragrance and their ingredients are scientifically-backed. As a side-note, they do also do a cleansing mitt* | £6 | which was originally under a different banner but now forms part of the the Skingredients line. You can check out my thoughts on this product and a little demo here.

Let's start with 'the Core Four' Step 01: the PreProbiotic Cleanse* | £23. I originally purchased this, not entirely sure what to expect from the texture, but it turned out to be a gorgeous cream cleanser so I'm actually very glad to have a backup now, because this stuff is good! Jennifer recommends that if you're more on the oily side (like her), this lotion-cream cleanser is still great, you can just add a bit of water onto your hands once you've dispensed a couple of pumps and it feels that bit lighter (though there's another cleanser in this line that would also be great for oilier skin). This is formulated with PHAs to provide a very gentle, everyday-appropriate, surface-level exfoliation, and also some hydration. There are also prebiotics and probiotics in the mix; the latter feed live bacteria and the former are these microorganisms themselves. This might sound scary but your skin and my skin is teeming with bacteria and striking the perfect balance is really important for a healthy barrier function, so your skin remains calm, hydrated and the oil levels are nice and balanced. I personally think a cleanser is a really great way of getting some of this goodness into your skincare routine. This cleanser can remove makeup; I haven't tried it on anything super heavy-duty (because I barely get beyond 'leggings on the sofa' these days!) but I think if you wear quite natural makeup with a bit of complexion and no waterproof eye makeup; this will likely do the job. It's currently one of my favourite morning cleansers; it softens, smooths and moisturises my skin. It's not foaming, it's not stripping, and actually; my skin often feels more hydrated after use than it did beforehand!

Step 02 from the Core Four is the Skin Veg Pre-Serum* | £39. This is also one I originally bought myself back over summer, so I've been trying with it for a while, but I do have to say that this is probably my least-favourite product from the range. Not because it's bad, but because I just struggle to figure it out! This is branded as a pre-serum and when I originally ordered it, I didn't have the 'main' serum from this range (which we'll be discussing next) so I was a bit stumped on what to use it with because I wouldn't normally use an acid toner before a serum that contains exfoliating acids (it's kind of overkill) and - given the peptides - I wouldn't mix it myself with Vitamin C either. Obviously it's designed to work in harmony with the serum from this range, but should you really need two products to complete the 'serum' step in your routine? I was just a bit lost on this and honestly found it more helpful when I thought of this as a day serum (obviously it contains penetration-enhancing ingredients, hence the 'pre-serum' tag, but there's nothing in here to stop you just using it as a serum) and Step 03 (which we'll get onto in a moment) as an evening serum. And, once I stopped trying to see it as just a pre-serum; I found this worked a lot better for me. It's a lightweight gel-serum formulated with PHAs again (they're probably going to have a more exfoliating action here because it's a leave-on product, but PHAs have a large molecular size so it's not going to be anything crazy-intense for daily use), peptides (included because they're supposed to stimulate collagen growth, though I haven't  enough conclusive evidence on this, so I primarily see them as plumping from a hydration standpoint) and, as the name suggests, there are lots of plant-based extracts that are rich in antioxidants to protect the skin against environmental damage. Of course, we also have a decent hit of hyaluronic acid in there to pull water into the skin (so I recommend applying this to damp skin). It's a nice plumping, hydrating serum that gave my skin a nice glow and didn't feel sticky or filmy. It's not my all-time favourite and there are products I love a lot more from this range but it's definitely an above-average all-rounder hydration serum.

Step 03 is Skin Protein* | £39 | the really 'active' serum in the range and is suitable for AM and / or PM application, though I find myself reaching for this more in the evening. It has a lovely creamy texture and the opaque reverse pump packaging really helps to keep those active ingredients fresh and protected. I really like how moisturising this is on the skin with omega fatty acids to really soften and smooth the skin, as well as keep its barrier nice and strong. It's branded as containing Vitamin A, C and E, so let's dive into what that means. All forms of retinoid are derived from Vitamin A and this product contains retinyl palmitate, which is the least potent but also most gentle, which is why this serum can be used daily and why this is the retinoid I recommend to people starting out with them. Retinoids have the ability to smooth the skin, repairing the environmental damage that happens in the ageing process, and also to improve the appearance of acne scarring and skin texture (however they aren't suitable for those on accutane or who are pregnant / breastfeeding). 

There are also 3 forms of Vitamin C in the mix here; ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate and tretrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Ascorbic acid is really the gold standard of Vitamin C; it has the most research behind it in terms of offering skin brightening abilities that can help treat hyperpigmentation and promote an even skin tone, as well as giving that instant glow boost. Ascorbyl palmitate and tretrahexyldecyl ascorbate are two of its oil-soluble derivatives to really help with penetration into the skin. In terms of Vitamin E, we have tocopherol and tocopherol acetate (oil-soluble). This form of antioxidant both protects and repairs the skin from free radical damage. Combined, these three ingredients are a gentle powerhouse, if such a thing can exist! Bear in mind that I use a lot of active skincare and my face is very used to that, but I found this to be gentle yet very effective. It does offer something of a smoothing effect and it has been beneficial in getting rid of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after some hormonal breakouts I've had. This is the all-rounder active for people who want a less complex skincare routine. It works, it isn't harsh, it's moisturising and it gives you a bit of everything your skin needs.

Our final step from the Core Four is 04: the Skin Shield SPF 50 PA +++* | £39. There's a bit of a story to this one; I am a self-confessed hater of mineral sunscreens and I didn't order this product when I originally discovered the brand because, as far as I was concerned: I knew I wouldn't like it. However, I received it in a PR package so decided I'd give it a go and see what happened. If you don't know, there are chemical / organic sunscreens or mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens pose no risk to marine life, whereas there is some evidence that certain chemical filters could contribute towards coral bleaching. Mineral sunscreens are also generally less irritating to sensitive skin types due to their composition. However, the downside is that they're usually thick, heavy and leave a silvery-blue white cast which is most visible on medium, deep and dark skin tones. They also have a bad rap for ruining makeup, and whilst that shouldn't be a factor when it comes to protecting yourself from skin damage and melanoma, we have to be realistic; no one's going to use a product every single day in the quantities needed to get the advertised protection if it looks a total mess. 

This sunscreen provides high protection to the skin from both UVA (the rays that cause premature ageing, which are also consistent throughout the year, so if you want to be protected from them; you need to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen in the autumn and winter too) and UVB rays (the ones that cause burning). It has a slightly peachy tint, which isn't uncommon in mineral sunscreens, as the brand generally will want to offset any potential white cast, but it also has this beautiful fluid texture that melts into the skin beautifully to both moisturise and give it a healthy glow. As a side-note: this is definitely a sunscreen with added moisturising benefits, as opposed to a moisturiser with added sunscreen and will be enough on its own for some people, but - given it's almost winter here in the UK - I use moisturiser beforehand. It's also formulated with Vitamin E and niacinamide, which calms inflammation, regulates oil production and strengthens the skin barrier. This is the first mineral sunscreen I've tried that feels light and doesn't leave a hint of white cast. Often, I'll find products that are 'pretty good' but still a bit visible. Not this one; I can wear it with full confidence whether it's a makeup day or a no-makeup day. I can't guarantee it will work as well on every single skin tone, but if you've tried this product and have a deeper skin tone than me; I'd love to hear your thoughts. I never thought I'd see the day, but I've found my perfect physical sunscreen formula... 

Moving onto the Mix and Match products, we have another pleasant surprise! I wouldn't naturally gravitate towards the Sally Cleanse | £23 | but, to be honest; I had everything else from the line so the completionist in me just wanted to pick up this product so I could review the lot. I generally don't like salicylic acid cleansers; they're usually so drying on my skin and foam up to strip it of all moisture. However, this is a unicorn: a non-foaming, spot-fighting cleanser. I don't use this every single day, but that's kind of the concept with the Mix and Match line; you dip in and out of the products as and when your skin needs it. I personally use this during my more 'hormonal week' of the month and it doesn't feel stripping or drying on my skin, which is so rare for this sort of cleanser, in my personal experience! Salicylic acid is a BHA (so not suitable for you if you're pregnant / breastfeeding); an oil-soluble exfoliating acid. It can really get right into the pores to treat breakouts and also provide exfoliation that helps the appearance of any subsequent scarring. This really helps clear up my skin and you can even use it as a 5-10 minute treatment mask if you want. It's a great product that strikes the balance of giving anti-blemish, excess oil-removing goodness without disrupting the skin barrier or causing dryness. If you know someone with oily or spot-prone skin and they're using some really stripping Clean & Clean or St. Ives Apricot Scrub: buy them this!

Last, but certainly not least is the other Mix and Match option: Skin Good Fats | £38. This is a moisturising cream that, to be honest (at this time of year), I put all over my face, but it's designed to be used as a skin barrier balm. Therefore, if you have more combination skin; this could be perfect for applying on dry patches of skin to balance things out. Likewise, at this time of year especially, anyone can benefit from something like this as a barrier against the cold weather or as a repair cream following exposure to the elements. It's formulated with so much good stuff! I love ceramides; they naturally occur in the skin but deplete with age and are crucial to barrier function, so products containing them help retain water in the skin and also replenish it so it feels more moisturised and often less sensitised. There's oat extract to soothe the skin and nourishing non-fragrant plant oils are in the mix to provide that next-level moisture. There's also a shea butter derivative to soften, smooth and nourish the skin, alongside niacinamide, which we discussed earlier (in low doses it can do your skin barrier wonders) and Vitamin E (also in Skin Protein). It manages all of this in a formula that honestly doesn't feel heavy, smothering or greasy on the skin but still gives me enough nourishment. I absolutely love it and my only negative is that it's 30ml of product; I know it's intended to be a skin balm as opposed to a full-on moisturiser, but I think 50ml would be appropriate, especially as the packaging (one minor gripe I have with the entire range, to be honest) is quite bulky.

Overall, it's probably no surprise that I'm giving this brand my stamp of approval; I'm excited about it, their product range contains all the staples you need and presents them in a simplified manner. Best of all; you're getting active ingredients that are gentle on the skin but work at a really reasonable price-point. I really recommend checking out Skingredients and they're definitely a brand I'll be recommending to friends and family who want effective skincare that's straightforward!

Have you tried anything from Skingredients? Let me know about your experience or, if not, which of their products appeals to you most?

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